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Shirley Baker/Joseph Cornell

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:36 am
by Garth Cartwright
A central London day so I went to The Photographer's Gallery where Shirley Baker's b&w and colour photos of life on the streets of working class Manchester (as the tenement neighbourhoods were beginning to be replaced with tower blocks) are exhibited. Baker largely focuses on children (at least in this exhibition), her work both bleak and celebratory (the energy and humour of the kids!). Wonderful. TPG also has 2 floors of "music" photography by various snappers who contribute to the likes of Vice and dazed and confused so very bright, very hip, lots of Lady Gaga and fans who dress as her and M Jackson and such. Nothing here caught my eye for more than a few seconds and much of it made me feel old - "this is music?" etc.

Joseph Cornell at Royal Academy is a small show - as far as career retrospectives of famous artists go - but its more than big enough as Cornell's whimsical, child-like fantasy boxes of European cities and exotic birds and Renaissance portraits etc is, like chocolate, best sampled in small quantities. Interesting to see how he pretty much arrived at his box aesthetic at the start of his career and barely changed across the decades. The small paintings illustrated are akin to illustrations in a children's picture book. Pleasant but a bit like Michael Jackson's Peter Pan fantasy - it helps if the artist grows up.